Chad Colton

Chad Colton


Praised as a “go-to lawyer for bet-the-company commercial litigation” by Chambers USA, Chad Colton thrives in high-stakes cases.

Clients and market sources reported to Chambers that Chad is a “great communicator and strategist” and a “fantastic lawyer” who has what most litigators don’t: “actual trial experience and outstanding public speaking skills.” He has taken more than 25 cases to trial across the country—from Portland, to Atlanta, to Los Angeles—and recently led trial teams through some of the most high-profile commercial jury trials in the Pacific Northwest.

Chad serves as lead counsel to regional and national companies, entrepreneurs, and start-ups in complex business and intellectual property disputes. He particularly excels in cases involving technology, software, business torts, trade secrets, contracts, and securities. While Chad is known for bet-the-company litigation and handles cases of all sizes, many regional and national companies find his skill set ideal for cases in the $10 million to $250 million range.

Chad is one of those rare people who found a profession that lines up almost exactly with his talents. Recognizing his aptitude in the courtroom, some of the top commercial trial lawyers in the Pacific Northwest trained and mentored him early in his career. After building on that foundation for nearly two decades, Chad now shares litigation techniques with peers and in-house counsel in his monthly video series called “When You Need to Win” and through in-person courses. 

Chad loves what he does, but more importantly, clients love working with Chad and his team. Unlike many busy, in-demand lawyers, Chad stays directly involved in his cases and client relationships from start to finish. Regardless of the case, Chad and his team deliver the highest quality work product—work that clients often say exceeds the quality of the largest national law firms they work with. One of Chad’s tech clients recently said, half joking, “We really need to get into more trouble so we can work together again.” For Chad, it’s not just work; it’s a passion for courtroom advocacy and helping people solve difficult problems.

Chad balances his work with a deep commitment to his family and (some may say) an insufferable obsession with karaoke and old Led Zeppelin albums—i.e., re-living his days playing guitar and singing in loud rock bands. He also stays active in his community, serving on the boards of directors and in leadership positions for numerous non-profits and legal organizations.

Some of his representative cases include:

  • Won a nearly $30 million jury verdict against an international penny stock scammer known as the “Wolf of Montreal.” (See article here.) The verdict included $23.4 million in lost profits, RICO multipliers, and punitive damages, plus attorney fees and the return of a large vineyard property.
  • Served as lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in Opal Labs Inc. v. Sprinklr, Inc., one of the largest trade secret jury trials (if not the largest) in Oregon history. (See article here.) After a multi-week jury trial on claims for the theft of Opal’s software, the defendant paid what the Portland Business Journal called “a landmark settlement.”
  • Won a full defense verdict for Boyd Coffee Company in a federal jury trial in Los Angeles involving multimillion-dollar, bet-the-company claims for breach of a distribution agreement. 
  • Served as lead defense counsel for the Boy Scouts of America in a set of more than 150 cases in Oregon and Guam, seeking collective damages of several billion dollars.
  • Secured full dismissal of claims against Traeger Grills through a series of motions in a multimillion-dollar trade secret and contract case in Ohio involving electronic payment processing. 
  • Represented Harry & David Corp. against IBM in fraud and business tort claims involving IBM’s website and e-commerce software. The case resolved shortly after convincing a federal judge that Harry & David had a viable claim for fraud against IBM.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims against Progressive Direct Insurance Co. in a Nevada class action case involving medical payment coverage. 
  • Defended a global Am Law firm in a federal class action and related mass actions arising out of the failure of the Aequitas investment funds. 
  • Secured permanent injunctions on behalf of Propel Insurance Company barring former employees from soliciting clients and using confidential and trade secret information at a competing insurance brokerage. 
  • Successfully pursued claims for fraud and negligence on behalf of global project management company HanmiGlobal Co. Ltd. in international and domestic arbitrations regarding the acquisition of a U.S. architecture and engineering firm.
  • Defended shareholders and officers from claims following the hostile takeover of Christensen Shipyards, one of the world’s premier luxury shipbuilders. 
  • Represented clients in trial to reopen an estate for financial abuse by a personal representative, leading the court to hold that the conduct “shocked the conscience” and to local prosecutors securing a felony conviction against the personal representative. 
  • Defended a medical management company at trial against multimillion-dollar claims for breach of contract and business torts, reducing damages to under $40,000. 
  • Secured full control of a large auto auction company through multiple trials of a family business dispute over control and theft of company assets.
  • Won at trial on claims against a former company officer for embezzlement of company funds, resulting in a judgment of non-dischargeability in federal bankruptcy court. 
  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment in a family business dispute over the breakup of a large, 150-year-old Oregon farm, embezzlement of farm income, and the theft of farm property.

  • Recognition, Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2021 – present; Up and Coming, 2017 – 2019
  • Best Lawyer, Best Lawyers in America, 2024
  • Super Lawyer, Oregon Super Lawyers, 2020 – present; Rising Star, 2009 – 2019
  • Board of Directors, Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, 2021; Chair, Commercial Litigation Section, 2018 – present
  • Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Corporate Counsel Section, 2021
  • Chair, Oregon State Bar Technology Law Section, 2014; Executive Committee, 2009 – 2018
  • Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar International Law Section, 2015 – present; Chair, 2017
  • Board member, Civics Learning Project (formerly Classroom Law Project), 2019 – present
  • Board Chair, Quechua Benefit, 2018 – present; Board of Directors, 2015 – present
  • Board of Directors and President, Up & Out, Inc., 2008 – present
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Multnomah Bar Association
  • Multi-law International Academy, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2010
  • International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy, 2008
  • First Place, Lewis & Clark Law School Mock Trial Competition, 2004
  • Best Oral Advocate, Lewis & Clark Law School Appellate Moot Court Competition, 2003
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Lewis & Clark Law School — J.D. 2006, cum laude
  • Brigham Young University — B.A. 2003
When You Need to Win - Don't give the jury all the details in opening
Chad Colton on how to turn on a dime
Chad Colton

1455 SW Broadway, Suite 1900
Portland, OR 97201 - 503-295-3085

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